Written by

David Floyd

David Floyd

Reviewed by

Brett Ehlert

Brett Ehlert

What Do Cockroaches Eat? – Surprising Roach Diet Facts!

Are you dealing with cockroaches rummaging through your home? These persistent bugs are one of the most prevalent pest problems that homeowners may encounter. With that being said, what is attracting cockroaches to your home?

In this guide, we will discuss a cockroach’s diet and how readily available food sources can provide a thriving environment for cockroaches in your home! We’ll be covering what do cockroaches eat, and how to keep your home clean to prevent attracting roaches!

what do cockroaches eat

What Do Cockroaches Eat?

Cockroaches are onmivours which means they will happily eat either animal matter (meat) or plant matter. That being said, they are excellent scavengers and they have an appetite for nearly anything they can get their mouths on.

A cockroaches diet generally consists of the following foods:

  • Sweets
  • Meats
  • Starches
  • Greasy Foods
  • Any Decaying Matter
  • Clothes
  • Dead Skin Flakes
  • Hair
  • Anything They Can Find

I could make a list of food sources cockroaches will eat as long as a dictionary, but to put it quite simply cockroaches will eat pretty much any type of plant or animal matter that they can find.

They are not picky eaters, and eating isn’t a choice, it’s a necessity. If you’re wondering what a cockroach diet consists of, just accept that it’s anything that closely resembles what we would consider food. That being said, you might be wondering can cockroaches bite humans?

What Type of Food In Your Home Will A Cockroach Look For? – Food Sources

Most types of common cockroaches are excellent scavengers, and will find food because their life depends on it. Whether it’s German Cockroaches or American cockroaches, these insects will find food, even if you don’t. Below are some of cockroaches favorites foods that are generally found around your home.

Food On Kitchen Counters

Cockroaches are generally found in your kitchen because that’s where most of their favorite foods are found! Cockroaches love kitchen surfaces such as your counters because there are all sorts of crumbs laying around that make an excellent meal for a cockroach. 

what do roaches eat

Pest control technicians generally will treat your kitchen first because that’s where cockroaches often found or live. 

Cockroaches will also pay special attention to your kitchen sink, because there is often water for them to drink, and their might be slight crumbs and leftovers in your sink or in and around your drain pipe. 

Generally speaking, the first step in cockroach control is to focus on keeping your kitchen as clean as possible and limiting the amount of food sources that cockroaches eat. So consistently clean your counter tops of crumbs, clean up drips of dinner around your stove top, and keep your sink and drain pipe opening as clean as possible, to limit the food sources that cockroaches eat!

Food In Your Pantry

Just like humans, cockroaches will constantly look in the pantry for their next snack!

Cockroaches love to eat sugary foods which might be found in your pantry, such as cereal, sugar, chips or other snacks like this. If you’re noticing roaches in your home, and you’re wondering where do roaches come from, it’s probably from outside and them coming inside with a hunt for food!

what do roaches like to eat

Even if the food in your pantry is stored in their original packaging, American cockroaches and German cockroaches have been known to chew through food packaging like cardboard boxes, to find their way to the food to eat. 

We generally recommend putting any item cockroaches might eat in airtight plastic containers. This will help reduce the amount of cockroaches in and around your home, and can help limit the need to pay for a pest control technician.

Pet Food:

As mentioned in the beginning of this article, roaches are not very picky eaters. Although roaches love human food, they will gladly switch to your pet food if it’s easily accessible. 

No matter if you have dogs or cats or any other type of pets, a food source is a food source for roaches, and they will happily eat your pets food.

Both German cockroach and American cockroach species will try their best to locate and eat your pet’s food, so we recommend storing this food in airtight containers to make it impossible for cockroaches to break in.

We also recommend to clean your pets bowl of leftover crumbs to limit another easy item for roaches to eat!

Along with this, a roach will also feast on your pets feces or other decaying matter, so this is another reason for you to clean up after your pet! At the end of the day roaches will eat almost anything!

What Else Do Cockroaches Eat?

If you’re wondering what do cockroaches eat, the easy answer is anything. But in reality cockroaches generally lean towards human food because it’s more accessible in higher quantities for roaches to eat.

That being said, roaches have the ability to digest cellulose. This means they can eat and digest items that humans wouldn’t consider edible. 

This can mean roaches can eat items such as paper, book bindings, newspapers, cardboard, or even wallpaper and paint chips.

They’ll also feed on items such as leaves, tree bark, and other organic material such as those. 

To put if very simply, cockroaches have the unique ability to digest most objects and use that as energy and nutrition. 

This makes pest control for cockroaches difficult because they have so many different types of foods they can digest.

How Can A Cockroach Digest So Many Different Types of Objects

Cockroaches are “blessed” with the ability to digest cellulose, which most other animals can’t eat. This means a cockroach can eat organic materials such as paper, and actually use that as nutrition and fuel for their day!

Cockroaches are able to eat cellulose because they have a unique relationship with bacteria in their digestive systems which helps to break down cellulose into something roaches bodies can absorb as nutrition. Eating this type of material would kill most other animals and insects, but cockroaches have evolved over the past millions of years to give them this ability to eat paper and other decaying objects. Read our guide on the history of cockroaches.

How Long Can A Cockroach Survive Without Food?

Unlike most other creatures, cockroaches can survive for months without food sources as long as they have a water source nearby. If they don’t have a water source, then they can survive around a week without food.

Cockroaches can live for a long time, and even longer if they have food and water!

If You See Roaches You Need To Act Quickly!

Because a cockroach can be attracted to nearly any type of organic matter such as plants, food crumbs, greasy food, dead skin, dead pests, and other gross things, if you notice a cockroach in your home, you need to act quickly!

If you have excess food that isn’t stored properly or your have a dirty kitchen, you can attract a roach infestation that can be tough for even professional pest control services to tackle.

Along with this, you’re also putting your home at risk to other insects and pests to turn into an infestation. 

If you find a single cockroach eating something dirty in your home, that most likely means you have other roaches and pests in your home.

How To Prevent Roaches In Your Home Without Paying For A Pest Control Service:

The key to preventing roaches in your home is keeping your home as clean as possible! Pretty much any dirty material attracts roaches to your house, as they will consume just about anything! 

Here are some quick easy tips to prevent roaches from eating their way around your house:

  • We recommend sweeping and vacuuming as often as you can.
  • Wipe down your kitchen counters.
  • Occasionally clean your kitchen sink and drain opening.
  • Protect your homes perimeter from bugs and other pests by ensuring there’s a 3 foot gap from plants and other foliage to your homes perimeter.
  • Clean up dead cockroaches when you find them.
  • Change your bed sheets often to reduce the build up of dead skin.
  • Clean up pets feces and other animal feces and dispose of it properly.

At the end of the day it can be difficult to keep a roach from eating random objects in and around your home since pretty much any type of material will attract roaches and other bugs. But by focusing on keeping your home as clean as possible will definitely reduce the amount of roach species in your home as well as reduce any other types of animals!

We have an entire guide on the best way to get rid of roaches!

David Floyd:

David Floyd has 20 years of experience working as a pest control technician as well as running his own pest control company. David is Quality Pro certified and is a certified Structural Pest Control Operator in the state of North Carolina, and the owner of NCPestControlExperts pest control company.

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